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The ground has been broken on eight luxury villas adjacent to the world-renowned Cabot Cliffs golf course overlooking the Gulf of St. Lawrence, each valued at more than $2 million.
Five of eight luxury villas ranging in price from $2.085 million to $2.675 million had been sold before ground was broken. The final luxury home at Cliffs Residences is expected to sell in the coming days as the project moves towards a 2022 completion.
Cabot Links course general manager Andrew Alkenbrack said the mix of owners is split evenly between Canadians and Americans, which is in keeping with the 19 villas found at neighbouring Cabot Links.
Every one of the new owners has been to the popular links-style golf courses in the area multiple times before deciding to make Inverness their new home, at least seasonally.
“It’s a really good group of people and a lot of young families in the mix there, so the motivation is being at Cliffs with all the stuff that is coming — the tennis, the health and wellness and the hiking trails, the short course and the putting course,” said Alkenbrack.
“I think it will be a lot of fun and I think we are seeing a little bit of a different market on that front.”
They’ve seen their share of young families at the Links development, he said, but people interested in the villas are looking to ‘put down some roots here.'
“Almost everybody has kids and that bodes well for those of us that live here and work here full time — just like-minded families that are joining the crew. They will obviously push us to keep us honest on the delivery of those amenities and the quality of those, so their families and their children can enjoy them for years to come.”
According to literature issued last week on the project, the architecture for each villa is ‘inspired by the vernacular of gabled villages along the coast of Nova Scotia.’ Buildings will be composed of eastern cedar shingles with standing seam silver metal roofs, and the buildings have an authentic material palette for ‘this rugged Atlantic Canadian landscape.’
“They will be a different style of architecture, similar to what you see at Cabot Cliffs with respect to the pro shop and some of those gabled forms,” he said. “You’ll also see them dotted along the seaside as you work your way up the coast. It kind of harkens back to the architectural style that has been here — that sort of Nova Scotia saltbox type of home, so we are really excited about it.”
An estimated 20 tradespeople are on the job now and construction is expected to create more than 100 jobs in the future.
Cabot first entered the real estate business in 2014, a few years after its first course opened, when five villas were built next to the first hole.
They sold in a day and nine more were launched that also sold in a day. The area also features a 72-room hotel and 19 total villas at Cabot Links.
Future phases and future development on the horizon include one called ‘Hillside Homes’ that is already being designed. Alkenbrack said a mid-February launch of that project will include rendering, brochures and sales tools.
“It is nice to see these things come to fruition and it’s a great vote of confidence from ownership,” he said. “Last year (2020) wasn’t the easiest season of all time for anybody and so it is nice to be turning the page and focusing on the development and continued growth.”
The pandemic has created challenging conditions for the golf destinations popular with visitors from Ontario, Quebec and the United States, but promising trends are surfacing for the season ahead.
Alkenbrack said present-day occupancy rates are at 90 per cent, indicating people are highly motivated to return to Cabot properties once the borders safely reopen.
“There is just such a pent-up demand and I think you’d see a groundswell of visitation form Ontario, specifically. Even if you get out as far as Alberta and B.C., we are getting calls constantly for people trying to make plans for later in the fall when they are guessing that things are wide open. Everybody is hedging bets on that one. I don’t think anybody knows the answer.”
Greg McNeil is a business reporter at the Cape Breton Post.